Boston Marathon

‘Just So Inspiring': Spectators Cheer on Boston Marathon Runners at Heartbreak Hill

Among those watching the Boston Marathon were the Bright family of Louisiana, who were cheering on 80-year-old grandfather Frank, running the race for the 22nd time

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Crowds at Heartbreak Hill were braving some rain to rally around friends, loved ones, and strangers trying to accomplish the 26.2 miles of the Boston Marathon.

Andy Hollins says he was happy to be there cheering on friends Monday.

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"It is a little bit cloudy and rainy," he said. "I'm glad to be watching and not running today."

"It's wonderful just to feel all the adrenaline from the runners and the spectators and just so inspiring," said Marisela Dy-Hollins.

Among the crowd was a family from Louisiana there to support Frank, a grandfather running his 22nd Boston Marathon just weeks after celebrating his 80th birthday.

"He thinks he has a chance to be in the top three of his age group," said Frank's son, Blair Bright.

"A number of times over the weekend, we've been asked which one of us is running, and nobody expects it to be the 80-year-old who can run faster than the whole family," said Paige, his daughter-in-law.

They were excited to get his attention and give him a boost before making the trek up the half mile stretch. The dreaded spot on the course in Newton is known for being the place where endurance and encouragement really collide.

Michelle Romanelli, who is here from Florida to cheer on a friend, says it's easy to feel emotional. Being there and seeing the crowds brings tears to her eyes, she said.

Her friend, Michele Stens, agrees, saying to be here this year, a decade after the Boston Marathon bombings, is even more special.

"It's the 10-year anniversary," she said. "It's amazing to see all of the support, and nobody's afraid, because they're Boston Strong."

People were motivated and deeply moved by watching others make such a big accomplishment, and feeling lucky to be a part of the process.

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